After months of lobbying, Australian Federal Trade Minister Dan Tehan expressed direct support for the TRIPS vaccine waiver.
The Australian government had joined the EU in questioning the need for a waiver. But after a PSI campaign instigated in October last year featuring a joint PSI/NSWNMA press conference, briefing of opposition MPs and most recently a ACTU/APHEDA petition with 20,000 signatures, the government finally withdrew its opposition.
“Australia will support a global push to waive intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines to allow for cheaper generic versions to be manufactured in developing nations, following months of pressure from human rights groups and foreign governments.
Australia has been one of the last holdouts not to publicly back the plan, and following months of outright resistance and then support only for ongoing negotiations, the trade and investment minister, Dan Tehan, said Australia would now support the waiver at the World Trade Organization.
For months, Australia’s reluctance to back the waiver had generated criticism from human rights and aid groups, and had even triggered protests outside Australia’s consulate in San Francisco.
On Wednesday, Tehan cited a shift in US policy in May as the reason behind Australia’s support. Russia and China had also supported the waiver in recent months.
A group of 15 NGOs and churches in the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (Aftinet) met Tehan on Tuesday, and released a statement on Wednesday revealing that the minister had told them Australia would support a Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (Trips) waiver for Covid-19 vaccines.”
Read more on The Guardian website.
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